Torn ACL and Knee Injuries
Most knee injuries are associated with sports-related trauma. Car accidents, though, are a leading cause of traumatic knee injuries, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluding that frontal-impact crashes are where we see the highest incident of injuries to the lower extremities, including the knees. Rollover and side-impact collisions were also commonly cited.
Stephen M. Ozcomert, Atlanta car accident lawyer, has succeeded in securing sizable settlements and verdicts for those who have suffered crash-related torn ACL and knee injuries.
Although knee injuries may not be as common as other types of injuries in a Georgia car accident, such as whiplash, they nonetheless can be quite serious.
Anytime we examine the viability of a knee injury claim, we’ll look at who was negligent and what degree of liability they may have in covering the damages. Georgia is an at-fault state when it comes to auto accidents, which means those whose negligence is responsible for causing the incident are liable to cover the damages. If you were partially to blame for the crash, you may still be entitled to collect compensation, so long as you aren’t more than 50 percent at-fault, per Georgia’s modified comparative fault rule in O.C.G.A. 51-12-33. There is also O.C.G.A. 51-11-7, which stipulates plaintiffs may not recover if defendant can show plaintiff could have avoided consequences to defendant’s negligence by using ordinary care.
The amount of the damages you might receive will be heavily dependent on:
- The type of knee injury;
- How soon after the accident you received medical treatment;
- The severity of the injury;
- How the injury has negatively impacted your ability to function at work, at home and generally in life.
Our law firm serving Atlanta is committed to helping you determine the best course of action to succeed in your claim.Types of Car Accident Knee Injuries
There are several types of knee injuries that can arise from car accidents. Among those:
Kneecap damage. Sometimes referred to as “dashboard knee,” this typically occurs when the side door, window or firewall caves in and crushes the knee(s) of the driver or front passenger. Most cases occur in front-end collisions. This can cause injury or even fractures to the patella, which is the free-floating bone attached to the quadriceps. The patella is what protects the tendons and ligaments inside the knee, around which the quadricep muscle runs, up the front and interior of each thigh. When you have suffered a fractured knee cap, you will notice immediately due to pain and swelling. You’ll most likely need surgery. These injuries are almost exclusively “crush injuries.”
Fracture. A fracture of any bone in the knee can be traumatic, and is most often the result of moderate-to-high force impact. Fractures can either be open or closed, with the former involving some type of obvious protruding bone or deformity. In most cases, if you receive prompt and proper medical care, you can heal from that injury without long-term damage, though your recovery could be complicated if you have arthritis.
ACL Injury. The anterior cruciate ligament is the one of four main ligaments found in your knee. These are bands of flexible but tough tissue that keep our cartilage and/or bones together in the proper place. Although there are three other ligaments (including PCL, MCL), the ACL is the one most commonly injured in car accidents. Although it’s often associated with twisting or landing incorrectly while jumping in a sports-related trauma, it can also be caused by absorbing a blow from an object, such as in a collision. ACL injuries occur in 1 out of every 1,750 people between the ages of 15 and 45. When you suffer a torn ACL, that means it has unraveled. Typically, you’ll hear a “pop” and your knee will swell. You will feel an inability to put weight on that knee, and you’ll likely feel unstable while walking.
Knee sprains and strains. These involve the tearing, stretching or rupturing of ligaments or joint capsule. They can be very painful, but are graded depending on severity from grade 1 (mild) to grade 3 (severe).
Some of these conditions may not require surgery, as physical therapy, rest and a brace may help, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. However, if you have a torn ACL or other serious knee injury, you’ll probably require surgery. In either case, consulting with an experienced attorney can help you ascertain the damages to which you may be entitled.Compensation for Knee Injuries After a Crash
As a car accident attorney serving Atlanta for more than two decades, Stephen Ozcomert recognizes that obtaining compensation for knee injuries isn’t always a straightforward matter.
Jury Verdict Research reports the average verdict in a severe knee injury lawsuit is about $360,000, with the median being about $115,000. These are cases wherein someone suffered a fracture, required a knee replacement, suffered a knee dislocation or had severe aggravation of a pre-existing knee injury. In cases involving a pre-existing condition, it would be incumbent upon us to prove the severity of aggravation was causally related to the crash.
It's important to say that every case is different, so there is no guarantee this is what you will receive. The bottom line is if you want to bolster your chances at maximum compensation, it’s best to go with an injury attorney who has a history of success in handling these claims.
If you have been injured in a Georgia car accident, contact Atlanta Car Accident Attorney Stephen M. Ozcomert at (404) 370-1000.